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J Insect Physiol. 2000 Dec 1;46(12):1557-1564.

The response of the grape berry moth (Lobesia botrana) to a dietary phytopathogenic fungus (Botrytis cinerea): the significance of fungus sterols.

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  • 1INRA-Bordeaux, Unité de Recherche en Santé Végétale, BP 81, 33883, Villenave d'Ornon, France


A Tortricidae (Lobesia botrana) has a mutualistic relationship with the fungus (Botrytis cinerea). In this study, we investigated the growth, survival, fecundity and amount of sterols and steroids in larvae of this vineyard pest reared on artificial diets containing mycelium (3%) or purified sterols (0.01%) of the phytopathogenic fungus. Two principal questions related to the physiological and biochemical basis of this mutualistic relationship were addressed: (1) how the fungus influences growth, survival, fecundity, sterol and steroid contents of the insect and (2) are fungal sterols involved in the biochemical basis of mutualism? The presence of fungus in the diet led to a decrease of total duration of larval development (mean gain 5.1-9.4 days compared to the total duration in control of 42.9 days), an increase in survival (mean gain 50-76.3%) and fecundity (gain of 94-102%). These positive effects of the fungus on the biology and physiology of the insect were directly correlated to the presence of fungal sterols in the diet. Fungal sterols are one of the biochemical basis of the mutualistic relationship between L. botrana and B. cinerea.

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